CITRUS PRODUCTION The U.S. Department of Agriculture released final numbers for the 2019-2020 season. The state’s orange crop was down about 6 percent from the prior season; however, grapefruit and specialty crops (like tangelos and tangerines) showed slight increases.
CITRUS GREENING BREAKTHROUGH? A researcher in California has developed a potential cure for citrus greening, a disease which has decimated Florida’s citrus industry. The researcher used an exotic Australian fruit related to our citrus trees to identify a natural peptide that provides resistance to the disease. The researcher has developed a way to manufacture this peptide that can be injected, or sprayed, on an infected orange or grapefruit tree.
BURMESE PYTHONS In July, the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Conservancy of Southwest Florida announced they have teamed up to radio-track Burmese pythons in Big Cypress National Preserve, Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge and other areas of Southwest Florida. This will be the first time the pythons will be tracked in so many different habitats. The goal is to better understand python biology across the region and ultimately find ways to more effectively control this environmental menace. In the meantime, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has removed over 5,000 of the invasive pythons from the Everglades.
HURRICANE ISAIAS On July 31st, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in nineteen counties along the east coast of Florida. Fortunately, after drenching the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, Hurricane Isaias only grazed Florida. It subsequently pounded the Northeast U.S. with destructive winds, tornadoes and flooding rains after its North Carolina landfall. Forecasters are expecting a busy hurricane season, with as many as 20+ named storms so “Be Prepared!”.